SALEYARD lamb prices experienced an overall correction this week despite improving for quality domestic lines in some markets, as finer weather increased supply for fewer more selective processor buyers.
Quality is slipping in the major slaughter lambs grades in most centres and the turn-off is now coinciding with several processor maintenance shutdowns, but domestic and export processors are still paying 600c/kg-plus for well-finished lines.
At the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the National Livestock Reporting Service said secondary trade and light slaughter lambs sold $10-$20 cheaper than last week with some processors absent.
However, the best slaughter lambs at Bendigo were still quoted at 625c/kg to nearly 700c/kg, buoyed by continued strong domestic demand. Similar and sometimes higher prices were paid at Ballarat.
At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin, the NLRS said most lambs sold $10-$20 cheaper and up to $25 lower.
In New South Wales saleyards, the heavy lambs bore the brunt of the correction, with prices dipping $3-$7 at most centres. At Forbes on Tuesday, trade weight lambs sold $6-$10 easier at $122-$154, and heavy and extra heavy weight lamb prices dropped $10-$12.
New season lambs offered in several saleyards
More new season lambs are being yarded in several centres, including Dubbo, Corowa and Forbes in New South Wales, Bendigo in Victoria and at Dublin and Naracoorte in South Australia.
In Dubbo, 16.1-18kg cwt new season lambs with $6 skins made $110, or 578c/kg, and 20.1-22kg lambs with $8 skins sold for $147-$148, or 636-662c/kg.
At Corowa, young lambs up to 18kg with $6-$8 skins sold from $84-$128, or 650-667c/kg, and 18.1-20kg lines with $8 skins made $144, or 680c/kg.
At Forbes, 12.1-16kg new season lambs with $7 skins made $107, or 667c/kg, the 18.1-22kg lambs with $7-$9 skins sold from $122-$158, or 570-682c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lines with $8-$9 skins made $157-$164, or 624-661c/kg.
At Bendigo, 12.1-18kg young lambs with $5-$7 skins sold from $96-$155, or 569-606c/kg, and the 18.1-20kg lines with $6-$7 skins made $112-$121, or 558-570c/kg. Ballarat agents sold 16.1-18kg new season lambs with $5 skins for $100, or 559c/kg.
At the South Australian Livestock Exchange, 18.1-22kg young lambs with $6-$9 skins made $110-$134, or 505-600c/kg, and 22.1-24kg lambs with $9 skins made $150, or 613c/kg. Naracoorte’s 16.1-18kg new season lambs with $8 skins made $113, or 583c/kg, and the 18.1-20kg lines with $8 skins sold for $130-$131, or 610-615c/kg.
In WA’s Muchea saleyards, new season lambs up to 18kg cwt with $1-$2 skins made 355-506c/kg, the 18.1-22kg lines with $2-$3 skins sold from $92-$110, or 445-511c/kg, and the 24.1-26kg young lambs with $2-$6 skins made $130-$137, or 477-540c/kg.
NLRS lamb indicators fall 9-26 cents on Tuesday
After Tuesday’s saleyards sales the Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb were: restocker 535c/kg, down 26 cents; Merino 572c/kg, down 9c; light 565c/kg, down 21c; trade 614c/kg, down 16c; heavy 635c/kg, down 12c. The national trade lamb indicator closed down 18 cents to 612c/kg and the heavy lamb indice finished on 634c/kg, down 12 cents.
The ESDI for mutton was 4 cents lower on 389c/kg and the national indicator also dropped, to 383c/kg, down 4 cents.
Over-the hook rates fall in NSW, lift in Victoria
In New South Wales, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb and mutton indicators trended slightly lower week-on-week, although only one contributor lowered their rates. Most contributors took a wait-and-see approach to what is expected to be a higher supply situation at saleyards this week.
NSW’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-20kg, 560-650c/kg, down 2 cents; 20-24kg, 600-650c/kg, down 2c; 24-26kg, 600-610c/kg, no change; Merinos 16-22kg, 490-570c/kg, nc. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 100-330c/kg, down 5c; 18-24kg, 200-380c/kg, down 3c; 24kg+, 300-400c/kg, down 3c.
In Victoria, the NLRS said most lamb over-the-hook indicators lifted slightly week-on-week, with trade weights averaging 640c/kg cwt. Mutton indicators were unchanged on week-ago levels.
Victoria’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 630-640c/kg, up 5c; 18-22kg, 630-650c/kg, up 3c; 22-24kg, 610-650c/kg, up 5c; 24-26kg, 610c/kg, up 5c; 26kg+, 610c/kg, nc; Merinos 16-22kg, 600c/kg, nc.
In South Australia, the NLRS said trade weight lamb over-the-hook indicators averaged 603c/kg cwt this week, while medium weight mutton averaged 330c/kg cwt. No trend is reported due a regular contributor resuming to quote.
SA’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 580c/kg; 18-24kg, 580-650c/kg; 24-26kg+, 580-610c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 540c/kg. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 240-380c/kg; 18-24kg, 260-380c/kg; 24kg+, 280-360c/kg.
In Tasmania, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook lambs rates as: 0-16kg, 530-560c/kg; 16-26kg+, 540-560c/kg. The sheep rates are: 0-14kg, 270-300c/kg; 14-18kg, 280-300c/kg; 18-24kg, 280-310c/kg; 24kg+, 270-290c/kg.
Western Australia’s OTH rates were unavailable when this report was published.
Dubbo lambs $5-$7 cheaper
In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 39,285 lambs, 15,385 more than last week, and 7163 sheep, 1087 more
The NLRS said lamb quality was generally good, with some trade and heavy lambs showing plenty of finish. There was also quite a few plainer lines. Some good runs of Merino lambs and a few stores were offered. Not all the usual buyers operated, but competition was generally solid, resulting in only a slightly cheaper market.
Light lambs sold $5 cheaper to processors and averaged $114, while store lambs mostly made $76-$110. Medium and heavy trade weights up to 23kg cwt were firm to $6 cheaper at mostly 600-660c/kg cwt. The better heavy trade weights sold from $130-$165. Heavy weight lambs were $5-$7 cheaper at mainly 600-620c/kg. Quite a few pens of extra heavy weights sold from $185-$212. Trade weight Merino lambs sold around $7 easier and averaged $132.50.
Most grades of mutton were represented and quality varied. Most grades sold firm, with light 2 score Merino ewes averaging $71. The better 3 and 4 score first cross ewes mostly sold from $93-$116 and heavy Merinos made $108-$131. Merino wethers sold to $118.
Corowa’s light and trade lambs firm to $4 dearer
At the Corowa saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 10,875 lambs, 2575 more than last week, and 1898 sheep, 198 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was fair to good, with some lambs still showing the effects of the recent wet weather. There was more light lambs and a good supply of trade weights and heavy lambs around 24kg. Extra-heavy lambs were in short supply. There was also good numbers of light and trade weight Merino lambs. All the usual buyers were active.
Light and trade weight lambs were dearer, but heavy and extra heavy lambs were cheaper. Light 2 score processing lambs gained $3 to $472-$112. The medium and heavy trade weights were firm to $4 dearer at $121-$158, to average 630-650c/kg. Heavy lambs up to 24kg cwt sold $3 dearer with strong competition from supermarkets and exporters. Heavier weights averaged $4 cheaper at $145-$184, averaging 630c/kg. Extra heavy lambs sold to $198. Good trade weight Merino lambs sold from $115-$132 to average 550c/kg.
Sheep quality was very mixed. Prices were cheaper for most, with some processors not operating fully. Medium weights sold from $72-$112 and heavy crossbred made to $155. Most of the better-shaped and weighted mutton averaged 375-400c/kg.
Tamworth’s heavy lambs $3-$5 cheaper
At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 2850 lambs, 350 more than last week, and 450 sheep, 550 fewer.
The NLRS said the quality of the lambs was fair to good with trade and heavy weights well-supplied. Some plain quality and condition lambs were penned. Demand for the well-finished trade and heavy weights was weaker, with trade weights firm to $2 cheaper. The average quality heavy weights suffered greater losses, selling $3-$5 cheaper.
Restockers were active on the plainer condition lambs at cheaper prices and the quality of the lambs also fell. Most of the lambs are running out of time from an age perspective. The sheep market also showed cheaper trends.
Forbes yards 3000 new season lambs
At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 32,550 lambs, 11, 678 more than last week, and 6850 sheep, 3454 more.
The NLRS said a week of drier weather lifted numbers, but lamb quality continued to be very mixed. Some well-finished lines and plainer types were offered. Most were heavy and extra heavy weight lambs. The usual buyers competed in the cheaper market.
About 3000 handy new season lambs were offered, making $148-$160, to average 650c/kg cwt. Light old lambs slipped $5-$7 to $107-$120. Trade weights were $6-$10 easier at $122-$154. Heavy and extra heavy weight lamb prices dropped $10-$12. Heavy lambs sold from $144-$166 and extra heavies made $147-$220, or 606-632c/kg.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality was very mixed. Prices were firm to easier, depending on quality. Merino ewes sold from $78-$115. Crossbreds made $81-$120. Merino wethers sold from $79-$136.
Inverell lambs $2-$5 cheaper
At the Inverell saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 3397 lambs, 1247 more than last week, and 1075 sheep, 347 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was fairly good, with several runs of well-finished supplementary-fed lambs and light lambs in the sale. Light and trade lambs sold $2-$5 cheaper and heavy lambs were $5 dearer.
There were more heavy sheep in the yarding of mostly better quality ewes and wethers. Prices were up to $10 dearer due to the improved quality and stronger buyer interest.
Bendigo’s secondary trade and light lambs slip $10-$20
In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 10,256 lambs, 1497 more than last week, and 1739 sheep, 101 fewer than last week.
The NLRS said lamb quality was much plainer than a week ago and the supply of quality trade and export slaughter lambs was limited. The market was cheaper and varied a lot, with quality and weight key factors in prices.
The best trade lambs were a few dollars easier, while secondary lambs and light slaughter lambs fell by $10-$20 when compared to the buoyant results of the previous Monday. The other issue affecting the market was skin values, with reports the Chinese tanning industry has slowed and most buyers were working on reduced returns of $3-$7 for crossbred lamb skins.
Some new season young lambs appeared in the market for the first time, but they were immature types lacking weight and finish and couldn’t be considered a price indicator.
The market reached a top of $196 for heavy export lambs estimated at around 30kg cwt. There was only about a dozen sales over $180, with most of the heavy lambs making $165-$185. Domestic buyers still paid up to $187 for the pick of the heavy trade lambs. The best slaughter lambs over 22kg ranged from an estimated 625c/kg to nearly 700c/kg, mostly selling around 640-660c/kg.
Bidding for secondary lambs lacking carcase finish was much more erratic and these pens recorded mixed price results. Some processors which usually buy light kill lambs were absent and there were significant price corrections for 12-16kg cwt lambs that mostly sold from $60-$90.
Odd sales of heavy ewes showed a slightly dearer trend, while some of very plain, fat score 1 pens were cheaper. Overall the average run of mutton remained in a similar carcase price range to last week. Extra heavy crossbred ewes sold from $107-$140, heavy Merino ewes made to $128 and shorn wethers sold to $120.
Ballarat’s best domestic lambs lift $3-$7
At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 10,797 lambs, 883 fewer than last week, and 2040 sheep, 1480 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average, with most of the regular buyers attending in cold and wet conditions.
The best heavy lambs sold to $210 and the better-presented heavy trade weights made $153-$181. Lambs suiting domestic orders sold to keen competition to be $3-$7 up on last week, reaching over 700c/kg to average around 680-690c/kg.
Restockers and feeders were again active, with feeders paying from $115-$175 for lambs and the lighter drafts selling to restockers at $65-$100. Restockers also paid from $120-$152 for first cross ewe lambs and $80-$97 for young Merino wethers.
Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $72-$110. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $100-$150 and averaged around 680c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $138-$157, with heavier drafts making $153-$181, or from 630-725c/kg to average around 680-690c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $170-$200, with a pen of extra heavy lambs selling to $210. Medium weight Merino lambs sold from $79-$129 and the lighter lots made $78-$95 and averaged around 550c/kg.
The sheep yarding included all weights and grades and mostly sold similar to last week, with the heavier crossbred ewes a few dollars cheaper. Light weight 2 score sheep sold from $64-$83. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $65-$110 and ranged from 315-450c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 420c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep sold from $87-$126.20 and heavy Merino ewes made $90-$125. Heavy Merino wethers sold to $110, with the medium weights selling from $84-$116 and averaging around 430c/kg.
Dublin lambs sell $10-$25 cheaper
At the South Australian Livestock Exchange on Tuesday, the agents yarded 8209 lambs, 4914 more than last week, and 2998 sheep, 2396 more.
The NLRS said there was a large increase in sheep and lamb supply for the usual buyers. Quality was mixed, but lambs overall were not of the same quality as last week. Prices lost the rises of the previous sale, with most lambs $10-$20 cheaper and some sales $25 lower. The light weight 2 score lambs made $55-$78, and light trade weight 2 and 3 scores sold from $70-$100. The 3 score trade lambs sold from $100-$135. The few new season lambs sold from $112-$120 and the top pen made $134.
A run of trade weight old lambs averaged around 545c/kg. The heavy 4 score lambs sold from $130-$148 and a pen of new season lambs estimated at 23kgs made $150. The extra heavy weight 4 score old lambs mostly made from $150-$158, with an isolated sale of $164. Most heavy weight lambs made 480-580c/kg cwt and averaged 540c/kg. Heavy hoggets made $97-$132, with a top sale of $142.
Sheep prices remained fully equal and dearer at times. The few light weight ewes and wethers made $40-$75. The 2 and 3 score medium weights sold from $76-$94, and the 3 and 4 score heavy and extra heavy weight ewes and wethers made $95-$142. A run of ewe mutton averaged just under 400c/kg with the wethers at 425c/kg. Heavy weight 2 and 3 score rams made $70-$116 and restockers paid to $120.
Naracoorte’s best trade lambs lift $8
At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1222 lambs, 330 more than last week, and 1485 sheep, 904 more.
The NLRS said a small field of trade and processor buyers was active on the mixed quality lamb offering, along with a small number of restockers. Lamb prices fluctuated throughout the sale, with lighter types selling cheaper while the heavier lambs were dearer.
The first pens of new season lambs averaged over $120 or 600c/kg. Light weight lambs sold to the trade made $39-$95. Restockers purchased lambs up to $66. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs were up to $5 easier at $86-$107. Trade weight 3 score lambs lifted up to $8 to $110-$137, at an average of 580c/kg. Heavy lambs ranged from $126-$157, with the few extra heavy types selling to $177. The first new season lambs ranged from $113-$131 and weighed an estimated 16-20kg. Light hoggets sold from $88-$104 and the heavier pens made to $130.
Sheep prices were easier than recent weeks, with ewe prices dropping by $10-plus. Light weight ewes made $35-$66. Medium weight ewes sold from $54-$84 to average 360c/kg. Heavy ewes made $85-$120. Wethers sold from $86-$122 and rams made $80-$112.
Muchea lambs heavier and dearer
In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 4817 lambs, 1583 fewer than last week, and 2260 sheep, 296 more.
The NLRS said quality lifted this week, with some good drafts of heavy lambs and a few pens of new season heavy trade weights. Two major processors remain out of the market under maintenance, but all other buyers, including live exporters, were active. Lamb prices were slightly dearer largely due to weight and quality, but most other categories were firm to marginally dearer.
Light weight lamb sold firm to restockers at $40-$58. Better light weight drafts suitable for processors and feeders lifted $2-$3 to $67-$96. Trade lamb prices remained firm, with the prime drafts averaging close to 500c/kg at $90-$115. The heavy lambs included a pen of new season lambs which sold for $137, but most other heavy lambs made $112-$125.
Heavy mutton was in solid supply, including some very heavy crossbred drafts. Light ewes lifted slightly, with 2 score medium weight processor ewes $4 dearer at $62-$87. Heavy weight ewes, including solid numbers of cross bred drafts, sold from $73-$109. The best Merino drafts made $90-$107.
Restockers were active on suitable ewe hogget and sound older ewes, with large-framed young Merinos with a good jacket making $76-$105.
Wether prices continued to be firm, particularly the lighter and store drafts. Heavy export wethers made $95-$108 and longer wool drafts to $115. Lighter and store drafts were firm to $4 dearer at $85-$110. Rams sold firm due to solid export interest. The better ram lamb drafts made $90-$105 and suitable younger drafts sold to export feeders for $50-$89. Old rams sold to processors for $50-$65.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.